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Property Fraud Awareness Week: A warning from Action Fraud

Monday 24 April 2017

It's Property Fraud Awareness Week this week and Action Fraud are warning estate agents about email scams that are asking for payments to a bogus account.

Over recent years there has been a sharp rise in spear phishing; cyber attacks which appear to be from a known or trusted sender that target a specific organisation or individual. Last year alone, two million cyber crimes were reported and the City of London Police are currently investigating an estimated £600 million in financial losses.

Action Fraud are warning against a number of fraudulent phishing emails currently being circulated within the property industry, which are specifically targeting estate agents. Allegedly from your solicitor, they are advising their bank details have changed and that you should transfer funds to their new account.

The emails appear genuine and use realistic email addresses, as well as the relevant logos. It is not just large sums of money that are being asked for, some emails have requested a few hundred pounds for searches.

How to protect against fraud

  • remain vigilant and always be wary of emails asking for confidential information of monetary transfers
  • be cautious of embedded email links, hover your mouse over the link to see if you're actually being directed to a different site
  • when making an online payment, always check the site is secure
  • if you are unsure, call the company directly, they will always be able to tell you if they have sent the correspondence

Always be wary of any emails asking for a payment to be made. Before parting with any cash, speak to your solicitor, either on the phone or in person. Once a transfer of monies has been made, it is near impossible to get it back.

Throughout Property Fraud Awareness Week, Property website Property Tribes and Anthony Gold Solicitors will be bringing you a variety of helpful feature videos, articles and case histories to promote awareness of how to avoid being a victim of property-related fraud. David Wedgwood will be looking at the psychology of scams, David Smith will be discussing letting agent and rental scams, Clifford Tibber will be covering property investment and mentoring scams and Beth Holden will be discussing identity theft scams.

If you have received any suspicious emails, they should be reported to Action Fraud immediately by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud or by calling 0300 123 2040.

Scam and rogue trader complaints should be reported to Trading Standards via Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0345 4040 506.